Categories
adult - 18+ Book Contemporary Gay Homophobia Hurt/Abuse m/m May/December NetGalley S & M Scorching/high heat Sexuality

Rough Road (Love Lakes #2) by Vanessa North

 

rough roadBlurb

Eddie Russell is many things: A wealthy pillar of the community. An outrageous flirt. A doting best friend. A masochist with a kink for brawling with his bedmates. But he is definitely not a man who invites intimacy. His friends are close but few, his lovers rarer still.

When Eddie runs his Mercedes off the road on a hot July afternoon, Wish Carver comes to his aid—and leaves his number in Eddie’s phone. Wish, a road crew worker half Eddie’s age and sexy as sin, seems fascinated by Eddie’s different sides. Mutual attraction and compatible kinks ignite the sheets, but it’s their connection outside the bedroom that Eddie begins to crave.

When the two come down on opposite sides of a local issue, Eddie finds his growing feelings for Wish at odds with his business interests and his devotion to his best friend, local wakeboarding legend Ben Warren. Torn between old loyalties and his new love, Eddie is reluctant to make a choice. But he knows he can’t make Wish wait too long to make up his mind.

Review

We met Eddie as the very flaming and kink friend of Ben in Double Up. Eddie runs off the road and is rescued by Wish – short for Aloysius – a 20 year younger road worker who happens to have the kink Eddie loves.

They start as a hook-up but it becomes clear fairly early that they are more than a one-night stand.

They have several hurdles: age, income, politics, Ben… But overcoming them is something that the two work out and the make up sex is phenomenal!

**

First – Eddie’s kink is pain. He loves receiving it and Wish loves giving it. If this bothers you – skip this book – because there is a LOT of it in there.

Second – The writing is excellent and Eddie is a great character. I didn’t get as good a feel for Wish as I’d like. We see everything from Eddie’s POV and so I can’t say I know too much about Wish. However, they really do seem to work as a couple.

I thought there was a bit too much sex (say it isn’t so!) but only because I wanted to see more of the men working as a couple when it wasn’t in the bedroom.

I loved seeing Eddie and Ben’s relationship evolve and it was great seeing Ben married off to Davis at the end – a nice tie in to the first novel.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and even though the sadism/masochism scene isn’t my cup of tea I thought it was handled really well. Eddie wasn’t a submissive and that was made very clear. I appreciated the distinction and how well it was covered.

4 of 5 stars

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Generously provided by NetGalley for review

September 28

Riptide Presents

http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/rough-road

 

 

 

Categories
adult - 18+ Book Contemporary Gay m/m Mid level steam/heat NetGalley Review Copies

Not my Boyfriend by Monica L Anderson

not boyfriendBlurb

If “I love you” is a lie, why does it feel so much like the truth?
Stuck at a co-workers retirement party, Max prepares himself for a long, boring night—until a guy across the bar with an intense brown gaze and a dangerous smirk offers some mutual gratification in the bathroom. Max had been looking for a forever love, but Karson’s so hot, forever can wait.
Ever since his cheating ex broke his heart, Karson’s had rules. Only pleasure. Never more than once. Never stay the night. Yet long after their romp in the bar bathroom, Karson still wants Max—maybe enough to break his own rules.
As Max and Karson struggle to sort out their complicated non-relationship, Karson’s ex resurfaces in full win-him-back mode. One white lie later, Max attends Karson’s tenth annual high-school reunion as his “boyfriend” to keep his ex away. But pretending is hard, when all Max wants is for the lie to be the truth.
Warning: Contains a slew of misunderstandings, one cheating, jealous ex, and steamy sex scenes between two guys who fall accidentally in love.

Review

Gah! I wanted to love this but I couldn’t…

Max is celibate for the last six months because he’s “saving himself” for someone he hopes will become a forever boyfriend. Karson got dumped YEARS ago and is hopelessly jaded against relationships as a result.

So Max doesn’t do one night stands and that’s all Karson does… except Max sees Karson at a bar one night and agrees to be a one night stand – well bathroom fuck if we’re being specific. Karson is clear from the start that there is NO future with him. Max falls for him anyway…

Karson is terribly attracted to Max, the sex is hot and he essentially keeps leading Max on. He’s hot, he’s cold, he’s mean, he’s sweet… Max sucks it all up and keeps coming back for more.

I don’t really know much about either MC – we don’t spend a lot of time with them unless they are having sex or lamenting about their (non)relationship.

Though I liked the writing style and admired the MCs development (what we got) I got so FRUSTRATED by the back and forth ridiculousness.

Max was nothing but a door mat. Completely. Karson is a dick over and over and tells him there is no future but please keep coming back to have sex with me… and Max DOES!

When the ex comes into the picture and Karson reacts like they broke up yesterday instead of years ago I wanted to scream! Then Karson has the gall to ask Max to be his fake boyfriend after shaming him and Max AGREES! Ugh!!! Why? I just couldn’t stomach it – Max had no reason to believe in Karson AT ALL and he keeps coming back.

The two have a very dysfunctional relationship and though we get our ILYs at the end I couldn’t trust them. No way is that relationship working out.

Lydia is the BFF and she only sometimes makes sense, but she makes the most sense of the group. When she tells Max to enjoy the “fake boyfriend night” because it’s what he always wanted even though its totally fake and she knows how horribly Karson treats Max, I had to discount her advice as well.

So… though I wanted to buy in, I couldn’t and as a result… 2.5 of 5 hearts – mostly for the sex scenes and the cute cover.

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To Buy

http://www.amazon.com/Not-My-Boyfriend-Monica-Anderson-ebook/dp/B00YE20316/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1439576733&sr=8-1&keywords=not+my+boyfriend

 

Copy generously provided by NetGalley

Categories
adult - 18+ Angst Level Book Contemporary Gay Hidden Lovers m/m Mid level angst Mild/low level heat Music/Rock Star NetGalley Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Riptide Publishing

Running With Scissors By LA Witt

running with scissorsBlurb

Eighteen months ago, drummer Jude Colburn made the biggest mistake of his life when he walked away from his band just as they were on the brink of success. Now, he’s got a second chance. The band’s bassist just quit, and Jude plays bass almost as well as he plays drums. The other band members aren’t thrilled, but they are desperate.

Running with Scissors needs him, but there’s one condition: no hooking up with bandmates. That’s what ruined things eighteen months ago, after all. Jude’s on board, but no one warned him about the drummer who replaced him. A.J. Palmer is shy and unassuming . . . until he hits the stage. He gets Jude’s attention from the first beat, and suddenly that “no hookups” rule isn’t so easy to follow.

Keeping secrets on a tour bus isn’t easy either, and it’s only a matter of time before the band catches on. When everything hits the fan, Jude has to choose: a second chance at the career he’s always regretted leaving, or a shot at the man of his dreams?

Review

So I will admit that I mostly skimmed this book.

I LOVE the idea. LOVE the author. LOVE the cover. But I didn’t love the outcome.

Jude left his band high and dry and when he returns he’s told absolutely no hook-ups will be tolerated with other band members. So of course… he and AJ find themselves having to hide their developing love for each other and that causes lots of strife and on again/off again angst. Turns out Jude had a “thing” with another band member and there are unresolved feelings between the two to this day.

I didn’t really like Jude all that much and kinda felt AJ was a bit wishy-washy. So their “passion” was just as uneventful for me. In fact, I thought the most passionate thing in the book was the violent reaction to the hook-up the other band members had rather than the love between our two MCs. (The women in particular were pretty screechy.)

I was kinda hoping for this “super shy on the tour bus” guy to become this totally “hot and madly passionate” guy with his beau but it was kinda luke-warm instead. Usually LA Witt is full of hawt and sexy love scenes sometimes a little on the kinky side, but this was pretty white bread.

I think, had I not had high expectations because of my fandom for the author I wouldn’t have felt as let down, because it is still a “good” book, just not as great as I’d come to expect. (As you can tell from my previous review of Static – I am a big fan of this author.)

So, with that… I give it a fair 3 of 5 stars.

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Title provided thanks to NetGalley

Riptide Publishing Presents
http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/running-with-scissors

Categories
Contemporary Friends to lovers GFY/OFY Heat Index Humor m/m Mid level steam/heat NetGalley New Adult Review Copies

Reckless Hope (Letting Go #2) by j. leigh bailey

reckless hopeBlurb

What’s life without a little risk?

Or a lot of risk, if you’re Sebastian Carlisle. He’ll never live up to the legacy of his dead brother, so why try? Being the wild child in a family of stuck-up rich snobs suits him just fine.

Until he meets Micah Burke, and everything changes.

Micah’s got too much going on for a relationship. Even if he could trust Sebastian, a distraction—a sexy, reckless distraction with a death wish—would only derail his carefully scheduled life. If it were just Micah, maybe that would be fine, but his mother and sister depend on him, and he can’t let them down. Or at least that’s what he tells himself.

A hot moment leads to a hot night leads to a connection neither of them are ready for. And when a crisis hits Micah’s family hard, Sebastian will have to shed his bad-boy image and decide whether he can be the man Micah needs—and Micah needs to decide whether he’ll let him.

Review

Micah is the epitome of the son who carries the world on his shoulders. He supports his paralyzed mother, cares for his teen-aged sister, works two jobs – one in a nursing home, and attends college part-time. He’s busy. He’s got no time for silliness.

Sebastian has the world at his feet. He’s reckless, carefree, and loves getting into trouble. At first Micah is a sexy challenge, then he’s his touchstone.

When push comes to shove Micah needs a responsible partner, not someone to drag him into trouble, the question is, can Seb be who Micah needs and will Micah ever let anyone in to help?

**

Oh man! This book tugs at your heart strings! Micah’s story is so touching and sweet. He’s such a good guy and needs so much for someone to love him and help him.

Seb is deeper than you think and actually the perfect foil for Micah’s steadfastness.

Together they are a perfect couple and I loved how slowly but surely their romance developed.

Though they are both young, they’ve lived through so much trauma that their “always and forever” feels real and authentic.

The writing is excellent and the story wonderful. I can’t wait for book three in January!

5 of 5 stars

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To buy

Carina Press
http://ebooks.carinapress.com/B9422DDB-905A-48AC-9DAB-139FAFA19E40/10/134/en/ContentDetails.htm?ID=37482223-4303-4D86-95AC-04497D36C1F3

 

(Copy generously provided by NetGalley)

Categories
Angst Level College/University Contemporary Gay Homophobia Hopelessly Crying Humor Hurt/Abuse m/m NetGalley New Adult Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Part of a Series Scorching/high heat Trans

Lonely Hearts (Love Lessons Book 3) by Heidi Cullinan

lonelyheartsBlurb

With the quiet help of his wealthy family, Sebastian “Baz” Acker has successfully kept his painful past at bay. But as the end of college draws near, his friends—his buffer zone—are preparing to move on, while his own life is at a crippling standstill.With loneliness bearing down on him, Baz hooks up—then opens up—with Elijah Prince, the guy Baz took a bullet for last year. The aftershocks of their one-night stand leave giant cracks in Baz’s carefully constructed armor. For the first time, the prospect isn’t terrifying.

Accustomed to escaping his demons by withdrawing into his imagination, Elijah isn’t used to having a happy herd of friends. He’s even less comfortable as the object of a notorious playboy’s affections. Yet all signs seem to indicate this time happiness might be within his grasp. When Baz’s mother runs for a highly sought-after public office, the media hounds drag Baz’s and Elijah’s pasts into the light. In the blinding glare, Baz and Elijah face the ultimate test: discovering if they’re stronger together…or apart.

Warning: Contains sex in a Tesla, sex in a cupboard, sex under a piano, kinky role play, and a cappella RuPaul songs. Just a couple of boys groping, battling, then finally loving their way to becoming me.

Review

This is book three in a series, and while technically it can be read on it’s own, it is definitely much better read – in order – as part of the series.

We met Elijah in book 2. He was the son of the crazed religious zealots who was a rent boy, homeless on the streets of the city for awhile, and then Aaron’s roommate. His folks got crazy when they found out he’d only “faked” being converted back from being gay and was, in fact, still gay – and attempted to shoot him! Baz, who we’ve also met before, got in the way of the bullet and sustained an injury but survived to add another scar to his repertoire.

Baz is the poor rich boy whose parents are the “Illinois equivalent to the Kennedy’s”. He was bashed as a teenager and is now crippled sometimes with chronic pain and eye difficulties.

Baz and Elijah had actually met before all the shooting when Baz had rescued Elijah from a trick gone bad and sent Elijah back to the evil parents.

Ok – now here we are today at Walter and Kelly’s wedding (woot!). Elijah is depressed. Baz is depressed. Elijah has a super crush on Baz and Baz is always “worried” about Elijah’s well-being.

They hook up. (Mild form of saying they have super-hot-monkey-sex in Baz’s new Tesla!) From there on the two are mostly on again/ off again lovers then boyfriends.

But… there’s a lot of drama. Elijah has so much guilt surrounding his “Poor Elijah” fund that he takes on a sucky food service job to allay the guilt (though he doesn’t need the cash.)

Baz is feeling unsettled because all his friends are “growing up” without him and graduating and now he needs to decide what he wants to do with his life.

Plus the media is in a frenzy because Baz’s mother and uncle are making moves in the political arena that put Baz and his life in the spotlight.

Elijah’s still in the news from being the victim of his crazed parents but he’s also now dating Baz and that isn’t good for the campaign – what with his background and such.

And… there’s Lewis/Lejla the almost trans friend Elijah makes while doing dishes.

So… lots of stuff and a little bit of the music scene too.

Eventually, they get it all sorted (of course they do!) and find their own version of the Disney Princess Happy Ending – and we get to see Laurie and Ed again! (Woo Hoo!)

**

Wow – I get it now. Even in summarizing this story I have to include many, many, many words!

This is a long story – 355 pages as compared to the 270 of book 2, but not as many as the 379 of book 1. There is a lot – a lot– of detail and a lot of drama.

But… there are a lot – a lot – of feels, too.

I really love Heidi Cullinan’s characters. They are rich, flawed – very flawed sometimes – real, emotive, charismatic, sometimes cantankerous yet charming, and very well developed. Even if you hadn’t read about them before, you know by the end of the book that you have a solid sense of each of these MCs as well as their cadre of friends.

She also has a way of taking these guys through some really awful stuff and making it seem manageable in a way that is realistic. No quick fixes or band-aids, but hard work and sacrifice. (For the most part – see the end for what I mean.)

In this book, we also have some seriously HOT sex, too. These boys can be DIRTY and it shows! But – somehow – it’s also very loving and revealing and tender at the same time.

I absolutely adored Lewis/Lejla and I hope s/he might be featured more in future works. Her story was so honest and heart-felt and really high-lighted some of the difficulties in actually becoming trans that get sort of swept away with the whole emotional process.

Of course it was so great to see our friends Walter and Kelly, Aaron and Giles again – moving on with life and being cute with each other. And the extra-special I about smiled my face off – Laurie and Ed from Dance With Me! Squeeee! I love that book and I LOVE those guys! I was stoked when Ed kinda put the eye on Baz but then said he had enough man waiting on him at home! Whoo-ee. Love those two!

I had just a few issues with this book.

First – the length. I really and truly felt it could have been shortened without losing any of the specialness. It felt – at times – like we were accounting for every minute of every day and every emotion either boy felt. A lot of the “agonizing in my head” stuff both Elijah and Baz did really could have been summarized because by the end I kind of felt bashed on the head with it. And I’m not sure that I needed to know every feature of the Tesla to appreciate that it was fancy and expensive. And I didn’t need to know every decoration on every table at the wedding. And I didn’t need to know about every movie made by Miyazaki.

Second- the ending. I’m going to sound hypocritical here but stay with me a moment when I say that the ending was too rushed. We spent agonizingly long pages outlining Baz’s pain and lack of direction and tons of time hearing Elijah’s self-deprecating and clearly depressed inner workings and in the span of only a handful of pages those two major problems are seemingly solved by bumping into the right guy at the right time and agreeing to eat more healthy and limit the cigarettes and alcohol.
Of course I’m being glib, but it felt that way. Especially Elijah’s part of the equation. I just didn’t buy that he would full scale decide he had everything to live for, reject drugs as a method of self-medicating, and embrace this new, organic, yoga-filled life when he’d been the poster child for self-destruction not 20 pages ago.
I think, realistically, long-term, intense therapy, AND some significant life-style changes over a long period might grant him some relief…

I mean, I really appreciated the sensitivity that Heidi shows around chronic pain (both with Ed and Laurie and now Baz and Elijah) and how a person’s definition of “sexual intercourse” can be different based on fulfilling different needs. So, maybe a bit more attention to the importance of in-depth psychotherapy for someone whose parents SHOT at you is warranted.

However – by large margins my complaints are pretty minimal in the face of how much I did appreciate where this book goes and the overall feeling of happiness that we end up with for these two very, very lost boys.

I highly recommend it to fans of the series and for those who might want to read it on it’s own I say Go For It! It’s really good, Heidi is a phenomenal writer and despite being a bit wordy, the ride is absolutely worth the time it takes.

4.5 of 5 stars

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This copy was generously provided by the Publisher through NetGalley

To buy

Samhain Presents
http://www.heidicullinan.com/Lonely-Hearts